Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

It was inevitable. No matter how well products manufactured 30 or 40 years ago were made, sooner or later, they’re going to bite the dust.

So I bid a very fond farewell to my longtime, faithful AT&T cordless phone. It has seen me through more life events than I care to relate. And yes, of course it looks like an “old lady” phone, but if you can believe it, the battery in the handset has only needed to be replaced once in the approximately 35 years I’ve had it. You just don’t throw a phone like that in the trash, and that’s why I’ve kept it, homely as it might be, for all these years.

This phone and another upstairs which is plugged directly into the wall have been my landline, something I have known my entire life. When power went out in Superstorm Sandy, I still had phone service because the upstairs phone didn’t require electricity to run. It was a great security blanket, despite my having a little flip phone on a second line forever. But lately, the cordless has occasionally been staticky, dropped a call here and there, and the antenna is holding on by a thread. Not to mention the ridiculous price I was paying my carrier for the privilege of having a landline.

Time to join the 21st Century, like it or not. I am changing carriers and saving an amazing amount of money each year going forward — transferring my existing flip phone to a new model as my backup (in case the other needs to go to Apple for some reason), switching the landline to an iPhone; and going completely wireless. (Let me just say here … oy.)

Kicking and screaming? Not so much as fretting and panicking, and I’m not enjoying it at all. Since I am Mac based, I assumed this would be a breeze, but it’s not just the fact that I have to learn two new phones in a very short period of time. It’s that I’m giving up the security I’ve known all my life with a landline. I honestly never thought this would affect me the way it has. I’m almost embarrassed because this kind of stuff doesn’t usually rattle me. (And yes, that we are locked down in a global pandemic may be in play, too.)

Everyone assures me that I’ll have this all down in no time (probably true); that many, many people are completely wireless nowadays (I’m aware); and that once I am used to it, I’ll love it (undoubtedly true). But logic is rarely the best diffuser of anxiety.

In my experience, the only way to deal with this is to keep on moving through it, fretting and all, because curling up in a ball or going back to how it’s been are not options. I comfort myself each morning during periods of change by reading a particular section of this book by Deepak Chopra in the “Law of Least Effort” chapter, which reminds us that every tormentor or tyrant, each upsetting situation, is in our lives at this moment because it’s exactly what we need to evolve, and is the opportunity to create something new and beautiful. I do believe that’s true, and it’s what I’m holding on to.

So if I accidentally disconnect your call or inadvertently send you a partial text, please bear with me; I’m overcoming the loss of a security blanket. And I promise I’ll never be one of those people in the supermarket who cannot stop gabbing on their phone for two seconds. I’ll still be me, just looking a whole lot more 21st Century.

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A number of years ago, a dear and spiritual friend told me that at the heart of it all, there were only two emotions – love and fear. I considered it seriously, looked at it this way and that, and concluded she was right.

Much to my surprise, when I tore off the March 17th page of my Wayne Dyer daily calendar, I found this …

I would be lying if I said that I am not struggling with a newfound degree of anxiety and uncertainty in the face of this global pandemic, as I’m sure many of you are, and so many, many more beyond us. But it was a reminder to always keep our eye on the love, what we give and what we are given. Whether we feel the same as we always have or suddenly sink into panic and worry, we are loved.

However we may perceive that love or from whom – I am loved – you are loved. We’ll be OK.

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Fear is the antithesis of love. We are in fear when we bemoan our fate that we are not yet published. We are in fear when we relentlessly edit and re-edit and edit yet again something that, in all likelihood, is just fine. We are in fear when we overwork an aspect of our illustration, striving for some elusive perfection. It’s not that uncommon to think and behave this way. Most of us were raised to be good, to be perfect, to be loved conditionally. As were those who raised us.

And what we most need in our lives, our work, is not fear, but love. When we write and illustrate books for children, we always bring forth our best work when it is coming out of love … not anxiety about its success or perfection, or how well we are faring compared to others, or how much recognition we’ll gain. But love. It would seem so easy, but for so many of us it is not.

Below is the quote that I had mentioned in my last post. It is by Marianne Williamson, metaphysical teacher, and from the book A Return to Love, her reflections on  the principles of A Course in Miracles, published in 1975. All of Williamson’s work is focused on growing into our richest selves, letting go of fear and living truly in love. And I believe it has a profound meaning for us as we  venture forth as writers and artists, aspiring to light the way for children.

Everyday Grace

My deepest fear is not that I am inadequate.
My deepest fear is that I am powerful beyond measure.
It is my light, not my darkness, that most frightens me.
I ask myself, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who am I not to be? I am a child of God. My playing small
does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking
so that other people won’t feel insecure around me. I am meant to
shine, as children do. I was born to manifest the glory of God that is within me.
It’s not just in me; it’s in everyone.
And as I let my own light shine, I unconsciously give other people
permission to do the same. As I am liberated from my own fear,
my presence automatically liberates others.

These words struck me so deeply in their undeniable truth. As a writer and illustrator of children’s books, aspiring to bring my gifts to young people, I can soar to heights in joy as I work or tumble to crushing frustration. Fear. All fear. And though living lives through fear in varying degrees is common to so many people on the planet, it seems to almost be the inheritance of all sensitive, creative people. I know there is a better way; I’ve known for a long time, and so, I suspect, have you.

From time to time, books, individuals, ideas, etc.  cross our paths, and usually, at times when we are ready to take the next step out of fear and into grace … into love. This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for about 9 months, and through a mention of the quote above from a friend, I took this book from the shelf. It was time – there are no coincidences.

Living in love, free of fear, is a great challenge. We were not raised that way. Shaman and author Don Miguel Ruiz calls it “domestication.” It is all the same. And what’s so wonderful is that there is never a bad time  to take another step, to let go of fear and our belief that we should be small, to believe instead  in the love and brilliance we are.

I find A Return to Love an amazing book, as is A Woman’s Worth, both by Williamson. Perhaps an inspiration for you, too. Please also know, if it makes a difference to you, that Williamson’s writings do not espouse any specific religious orientation – her writing is of a spiritual nature, and so speaks to us all.

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